Work has been beating me down lately. Way more stress and frustration that somebody should have to put up with. Extra hours have eaten into blog time too. It's a wonder I even manage to get out and train these days, yet I managed to drive myself into ragged tatters.
In a four day period this week, I ran on three of the days. Sunday was a brief run, but by far my most intense, up Pack Monadnock. I have yet to push the pace on a flat lunch run. I fear it will destroy something in my body. I have a lifetime total running of still less than 25 hours. That is nothing, really. Running uphill though, is very different than running on flat ground. There is no impact. It is more like running up stairs or climbing a steep grade on the bike. I seem to have no ill effects when I go all-out effort up a 12% grade, no different than on a bike, on which I have many thousands of hours of conditioning.
When I went to Pack on Sunday, I was pretty wrecked from nearly 6 hour of rigorous mountain biking the two days prior. I still needed to get a run in. I plan to participate in a hillclimb running race or two this summer. Practice is needed. I warmed up for just a few minutes by running laps in the parking lot, dreading how badly attacking the climb was going to hurt. It was cold and raining out too. The last time I ran Pack, I didn't warm up at all and my legs weren't as trashed. It took me 13:03 minutes. This time I attacked from the bottom much harder. I'd love to know what my blood lactate levels hit. Could have hurled before I even got to the first switchback. I pretty much imploded on the 20% section at the top. But I was pleased to crest in 12:06, nearly a minute faster. I think on fresher legs, low 11's are possible on this climb, less than two minutes slower than on a bike. I walked back down and called it a day.
I followed this minor victory up with a 4.2 mile run on Monday and a long hill interval ride on Tuesday. No chance for recovery. I used to believe that intervals only provided benefit when executed on fresh legs. I haven't had fresh legs in two months. There's a risk of over-training or burn-out here. I seem to be immune from burn-out. I don't know where my over-training limit is. My volume lately has been only 10-12 hours per week, but much of that at fairly high intensity. Two years ago, I trained similarly in the winter months into spring and had a spectacular season. It sucks having heavy, sore legs all the time though. Of course, I followed Tuesday's interval session up with a brisk 5 mile run on Wednesday. No rest for the weary.
I'm finding that running has changed the way I climb on a bike. Riding long stretches out of the saddle pushing a big gear feels natural now. Historically, I was always a seated spinner. I have no idea if this produces more power. It's been a while since I trained with a power meter. I was hoping to buy the new Garmin sensor in Speedplay pedals, but who knows when (if) that will become available. I plan to do a few bike hillclimbs this summer and am curious to see if maybe I can still achieve another PR on Ascutney.
I finally took a rest day on Thursday. I hope to race Sunapee on Saturday if the weather behaves. Decided to race the 35's with teammate Dave. Looks like a bunch of guys are not racing their typical categories at Sunapee. With any luck, my legs won't feel like anchors. My new team kit arrived today. Fits great, although the Voler chamois is much bulkier than I prefer.
Looks like 6-gaps on Saturday the 28th is a go. There are about 12 riders interested so far. We'll start in Rochester at 9am and hit the gaps in the traditional order. Let me know if you are interested.